Although the press can print pretty much whatever the hell they want and put it on the internet, the day is coming when this can no longer be considered “journalism” in the altruistic sense. Too many corporate sponsors and too much advertising have perverted the once-noble profession, and the consequences have become too evident. Everything is clickbait. There’s far-too much hyperbole, hysteria, spin, fake news, faux outrage, and hard partisanship. Everything has essentially become an op-ed. We’ll call this “political tabloidism”. It’s the media covering President Trump’s presidency as if it were a new reality show. There’s a different Trump for every type of reality television fan. If you want to cheer for a villain, there’s Trump the anti-hero being attacked by the mainstream media. If you want to cheer for Trump’s demise, there is Trump the evil Russian agent that is Hitler incarnate. Tune in to the very worst channels for your dose of political tabloidism: CNN and Washington Post.
CNN will be discussed in a later article. The Trump vs. CNN war bears an uncanny resemblance to the WWF vs WCW war in the late 90’s. It was Donald Trump and Vince McMahon vs. Ted Turner and TBS. It was New York City vs Atlanta. North vs South. It was a bloodbath. More on that later.
But Washington Post has gone off the reservation and broken the cardinal rule of journalism: REPORT THE STORY, DON’T BECOME THE STORY. What was Editor-In-Chief Frederick J. Ryan Jr. thinking letting Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe publish a story quoting anonymous sources accusing The President Of The United States of giving classified information to Russian diplomats during a meeting at the White House? Has Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos lost his mind? This is the type of story that ends careers, much like Hack Heaven ended the career of New Republic writer Stephen Glass. He also got caught sensationalizing or flat-out fabricating sources, and the magazine lost their often-flaunted “In-flight magazine of Air Force One” credibility and reputation. They never fully recovered.
I’ve already dubbed it “The Democracy Dies In Darkness era” of cyber journalism due to The Washington Post insisting on emblazoning their website with this slogan at the top of every article. They continuously pump out anti-Trump opinion pieces. Out of curiosity, I googled “Trump Comey Washington Post” the other day and was only mildly surprised (but extraordinarily alarmed) to find well over 50 articles written about Trump firing Comey by the Washington Post, all of them with the same formulaic anti-Trump/Trump Hitler/Impeach Trump slant. FIFTY. WITHIN ONE WEEK OF THE INCIDENT. I’ve railed against google for over-sampling Washington Post articles on their aggregated Google News page, but it turns out the problem is more about quantity rather than quality.
Washington Post has become a machine. They pump out anti-Trump swill constantly and with avarice. They are, what Christopher Hitchens and Ian McEwan would call, “The Democrat’s Pornography”. Every possible exploitable narrative has been written with no shame and no consideration of future ramifications. They result in total rubes like William McCurrach degenerating into lunatic conspiracy theorists, chasing the ghosts of Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon. More to the point…it degrades the institutes of government and media, giving them the appearance of being too intimate in bed together and too dirty together for either to be trusted even one modicum. Although I mostly despise politicians, I much more despise seeing the media turning into an unintelligible hate-peddler. The actual craft itself of journalistic investigation is gone. It has been cheapened and turned into clickbait opinionated listicle cyber trash. I find it impossible to consume, and it is only a matter of time before this new and deservedly-earned yellow reputation catches up with them.
The can of worms has thus been opened. Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe, and Frederickson can not just back away from this story, though at this point they might desperately wish to. All the moronic late night comedians and all the moronic hyper-left politicians and all the moronic Slate/Huffington Post/Mother Jones sites have already piled on Trump using the Washington Post story as their weapon to drive the stake of impeachment through Trump’s Presidency. Inflammatory words have been used like “constitutional crisis” and “traitor”. The bell can not be un-rung. Washington Post is going to have to decide to either stand by this story or suck it up and take a massive black eye. In situations like these, standing by a shaky story can be brutally painful. I doubt that Miller and Jaffe will reveal their sources, but they will suffer.
There are two likely possibilities: one is that Miller and Jaffe have been royally duped. The likelihood is high considering Trump’s inclination to embarrass the media with P.T. Barnum style trickery. I totally expect this to be the case, but we won’t know for some time yet. The other likely possibility is that Miller and Jaffe concocted these sources out of thin air a la Stephen Glass. When Washington Post, a rag with zero credibility, starts making wild accusations based off of anonymous sources never to be given up, what does a reasonable mind believe? The question is, of course, rhetorical. The headline is tabloid-esque in nature, even using the same technique as The Sun or The National Enquirer of writing totally false information by quoting “anonymous sources”.
Enough is enough. Washington Post may have been a credible source for news years ago, but that era is a distant memory. Whatever ground-breaking work they built their empire on has been buried under an avalanche of clickbait cybertrash. Whatever their reputation was before the Democracy Dies In Darkness era was ushered in, I can no longer say. The intellectual giants of yesteryear, I can not remember their names. I honestly have no impression of The Washington Post prior to Donald Trump. All I can think of or say is that Washington Post is fake news. Frederick J. Ryan Jr.’s tenure is coming to an end, but not soon enough. Jaffe’s and Miller’s reputations will soon be destroyed and in ruins.
Ask yourself this: Why was there no article on the new Ghostbusters movie not being very good? Why is there no article on Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer impression being forced and canned? Why is there no article on Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump impression being not as good as Daryl Hammond’s? Why is there never a contradictory op-ed? Why is it always nauseating pseudo-morality all the time? The Washington Post is only interested in peddling one simple narrative perpetually. This lack of a full and complete picture will cause the core readers of Washington Post to eventually abandon WaPo in lieu of more complete coverage. It’s going to be a long, painful road to an embarrassing and shameful death.
Oh Columbia School of Journalism, where art thou?